Sunday Obama flew down to Florida for a campaign appearance, but turned around and flew back to Washington without appearing anywhere. Apparently someone told him that being in the White House and appearing to take charge of Hurricane Sandy provided a better photo op for his campaign than appearing at a rally in Florida.
And his “leadership” on the storm front has indeed been as inspiring as his leadership elsewhere. Yesterday, for example, based on intelligence that is obviously not available to ordinary citizens (we know from recent experience how much our president is determined to stay on top of all available intelligence regarding threats to Americans), he informed a nation hungering for His wisdom and insight that “this is a serious storm.”
There was, of course, as there usually is, more.
President Obama on Monday encouraged Americans living in the path of Hurricane Sandy to heed warnings from local officials to safeguard themselves and help thousands of emergency responders who have mobilized along the mid-Atlantic seaboard.
Appearing in the White House briefing room after a rushed return from Orlando, Fla., the president said he was putting his re-election race aside to coordinate with governors, mayors and federal experts to reckon with the slow-moving and massive storm.
“The most important message that I have for the public right now is please listen to what your state and local officials are saying,” Obama said hours before Hurricane Sandy was expected to spin ashore. “When they tell you to evacuate, you need to evacuate. Do not delay. Don’t pause. Don’t question the instructions that are being given, because this is a serious storm and it could potentially have fatal consequences if people haven’t acted quickly.”
The urgency and relevance of Obama’s instructions to his subjects gave the lie to those churlish critics who suspected he was merely politically grandstanding. For those Doubting Thomases — and much more important to him, Doubting Thomasinas — Our Leader had words of reassurance:
Asked about the hurricane’s impact on the final week of his neck-and-neck race against Mitt Romney, he said, “I am not worried at this point about the impact on the election. I’m worried about the impact on families and I’m worried about the impact on our first responders. I’m worried about the impact on our economy and on transportation.”
Our Leader’s insistence that he was setting politics aside and suspending his campaign in order to monitor the storm calls to mind Adlai Stevenson’s repeatedly saying during the 1956 campaign that he would not mention President Eisenhower’s heart condition.